Searson is Erin, Heather and Colleen Searson, three multi-talented sisters that play a variety of instruments and are all expert step dancers. The band incorporates a mix of Celtic, Pop, and Ottawa Valley style fiddling into both their recordings and live shows. Recently Erin spoke with Celtic Life International about the trio’s past, present and future.
What is the group’s ethnicity/heritage?
We were all born and grew up in the Ottawa Valley, Ontario, Canada. We have been lucky to have been immersed in French and Irish culture. We are the 6th generation to live on the original family farm that our ancestors from Ireland immigrated to. Our Father’s side of the family comes from Ireland, and our Mother’s family came from Saskatchewan. The Ottawa Valley is rich with fiddling and step dancing and is an integral part of our community, our culture.
What inspired you to put the band together?
It is a process that occurred gradually. We were always heading out to a house party, or we would head to our grandparent’s house and there would be someone there with a fiddle or guitar. We had been competing in step-dancing and fiddling competitions across Ontario for years. We studied all kinds of music, practiced all the time and eventually people began hiring us to perform at different events. After literally doing hundreds of volunteer performances locally at community events, we started to get offers to perform for a fee. Each show seemed to lead to another show. We never made the conscious decision to be a band until years later while we were all in university. We all loved playing music and thought we would make a go of it as a career.
Are they the same reason you do it today?
Our love of music and performing grew as we did. I couldn’t imagine doing anything different.
What are the challenges of the gig?
We are so grateful for the invention of the GPS! The challenges seem to be everything before and after the live performance. The tour bookings, planning and managing, the travel, the long days/nights, hauling gear and the exhaustion of touring, just to name a few!
What are the rewards?
One of the best rewards is right after we have performed a gig and having someone come up to tell us that we are the reason they started playing an instrument. That, or when someone says that they can see how much we love playing. It’s very satisfying to get that across to the audience. Thirdly, we have been able to travel to many wonderful locations around the world. We have shared and seen things I don’t think we would have experienced if not for this job. We have met many beautiful people in our travels and experienced so many different ways of living.
How would you describe your sound & style?
It’s hard to pinpoint and put a label to the combination of all our music but the best description we’ve been given is ‘Canadian Celtic Pop’. We’re energetic and aggressive and at the same time feel very soulful about the music we write, record and perform.
What makes a good song?
A catchy melody. If you find yourself humming a tune that we rehearsed earlier in the day, that’s a good sign. To me a great song is one that you can remember after hearing it for the first time.
What have been some career highlights?
All of the traveling across the world is a pretty big highlight! Performing in Europe for the first time. It felt like a huge accomplishment getting the band across the water. Secondly, there are also places we have played in Northern Canada that we feel very honoured to have experienced, Canada is beautiful! Thirdly, the mountains in Montana always have a place in our hearts.
What can audiences expect at a live show?
Lots of energy and original songs and fiddle tunes mixed with some great traditional fiddle music as well. People are always jumping out of their seats to dance and experience the joy of music. We love that!
What’s next on the band’s agenda?
We have a bucket list of places we would still like to perform and we are working towards these goals. We are also brainstorming and getting close to initiating where our next bus tour with our fans will be in 2013! This past fall we brought 130 people with us on two different Castle Tours of Ireland and it was a really fun way to perform for our fans and get to spend time with them. We are always writing music and looking towards the next album that we will record as well.